In today’s landscape, strong communication is needed now more than ever before. Broadband and mobile networks are critical in keeping us connected and are major factors in keeping our economy afloat. The connectivity provided by these networks has never been more critical than during a time like this, in which people are relying on digital communication and resources to stay connected socially and professionally. The lifestyle changes we have faced during last couple of months have been difficult for many and have reshaped not only our daily life, but also how we work. The policies and regulations put into place due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have forced us to use technology in lieu of more traditional, face-to-face communication and activities.
Due to this unprecedent surge of online presence, providing essential connectivity to emergency services, workplaces, and the rest of the country is now more challenging. Communication networks have been put through a stress test as stay-at-home orders have driven growth in new applications usage. Mobile and broadband operators are facing significant traffic growth and unpredictable shifts in usage patterns. Comcast reports that since March 1st, usage of VoIP and Video Conferencing is up 210-285% and VPN traffic is up by 30-40%. Additionally, there is an increase of 32% in upstream traffic and 11% in downstream traffic.
Network Operations: The Challenges of Increased Network Usage
To cope with rapid traffic growth, communication service providers (CSPs) are investing in network development by implementing new technologies, such as 5G, which enable increased internet access and provide advantages to education, telehealth, and other online services. In parallel, the continuous addition of new layers of complexity to an already vast network infrastructure has led to new challenges for network management – including increased time consumption. In order to be best prepared for an extensive 5G network rollout, organizations will need to automate investment and maintenance processes. Although global deployments of next generation mobile network will likely be strained by supply chain and economic slowdown this year, 5G and other new technologies will inevitably become an important part of modern networks. Connecting the world is no easy task - the key players responsible for the actual implementation of our nation’s connectivity include subcontractors and field engineers. Given the already complex nature of their roles, it has never been more crucial to provide this workforce with a means to optimize their tasks and further assist technicians in fulfilling their duties effectively.
Network Operations with Field Service Management Software: Automation & Optimization
Field service management software optimizes a technician’s calendar in real time, increasing efficiency in both task identification and completion. Automation of dispatching based on skillset, availability, and current location shortens and simplifies tasks assignment. Integration with GPS with real-time traffic information allows for the optimization of routes, thereby minimizing both the average arrival time and cost. These optimized processes provide increased benefits during an economic downturn.
To avoid faults and associated downtime, equipment requires periodical part replacements and onsite inspections. Preventive maintenance process automation also has many benefits for service technicians in pursuit of their overall goal of connectivity. In this case, automation allows for recommended information to be provided by the manufacturer, service tasks planned, and technician assigned. Additionally, the efficient workforce management tool allows for both technicians and back office employees to communicate easily and effectively. This tool provides mandatory input including work order details, customer repair history, and changes in the schedule, which allows the field engineer to exchange information fast, which significantly improves the efficiency by making the process easier, faster, and safer.
Decrease Network Operations Downtime with Predictive Maintenance
Technicians and field engineers are already performing a vital job under difficult circumstances. Software automation of Field Service Operations can benefit them immensely in their mission of connecting our nation. IoT solutions, together with analytics tools, enable a more proactive approach to network maintenance. In such case, dedicated sensors can monitor temperature, dust, or humidity levels. This information is then analyzed by the IoT platform and analytics software, in which the utilization of personalized modelling can send notifications to technicians in real-time. This allows the technicians to react immediately and allows business operations to continue uninterrupted while minimizing the cost of repairs.
Integration with Other Systems Is Key to Automation
The integration of FSM software with additional internal data sources – such as trouble ticketing systems, call centers, CRM’s / ERP’s, IoT devices, and inventory management – has many organizational benefits regarding the end to end process of automation and optimization. As a result, all team members, including management, dispatchers, call center and field service staff, can deliver top-class service to the clients at a minimized cost and with decreased interruptions.
To learn more about the common problems faced within the telecommunications industry, watch our free webinar, Automating Field Service Operations: The Key to Coping with Disruption during which our experts share their knowledge and discuss hot topics within the industry.